Doctors at The Royal Oldham Hospital A&E see record number of patients

Jimmy Stuart no watch
Doctors at The Royal Oldham Hospital A&E see record number of patients
27 January 2016

A&E department doctors working at The Royal Oldham Hospital have seen the number of attendances soar to record levels this month and are encouraging people to stay away from A&E unless it is an emergency.

On Monday 25 January 368 people attended A&E at The Royal Oldham Hospital, which is a record level of attendance for the department.

To ensure emergency patients can be treated in the quickest possible time the public are being encouraged to use other NHS resources in the community such as a pharmacist, GP surgery or walk-in centre instead of coming to A&E.

By avoiding A&E and choosing the right service, patients will get the best treatment in the shortest possible time, whilst keeping emergency health services available for emergencies and life-threatening conditions.

People with minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats and upset stomachs should try to care for themselves in the first instance and then failing that seek advice from a local pharmacist. Most of the time a pharmacist will be able offer people an over the counter remedy to their ailment. 

Keeping warm, eating well and being prepared can also help people to stay well this winter.

Dr Jimmy Stuart, Divisional Medical Director for Medicine at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which runs The Royal Oldham Hospital, said:

"Services across the NHS are under a huge amount of pressure. Our staff are working incredibly hard and like most Acute Trusts nationally, are seeing extremely high numbers of patients presenting at our three A&E departments and urgent care centre. Many of these patients require hospital admission and need medical care and treatment. This is compounded by inpatient bed pressures on our wards, with high numbers of patients occupying beds both due to clinical care and delayed discharges.

"The majority of patients requiring urgent treatment for what we call major conditions have included head injuries, falls, respiratory problems, abdominal pain and mental health issues. We have also seen a large proportion of patients coming to us with less serious conditions and minor complaints such as alcohol intoxication, back pain, migraines and headaches, ear problems, and sore throats. Many of these could be treated through local pharmacies, primary care and GP practices.   

“Last Monday (25 January) was our busiest day ever recorded at our A&E department at The Royal Oldham Hospital with 368 patients attending. We are desperately asking the public to think carefully before automatically turning up to A&E.  

“Self care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats and upset stomachs. If treatment is needed for a minor ailment, over the counter remedies from a community pharmacy can usually help. 

“Only those people who are extremely unwell and in need urgent medical attention should come to A&E where we will provide the best possible care to patients in an emergency. We are asking the public to think carefully before coming to A&E if they can be seen somewhere else and please help keep our A&E departments free for those who are critically ill and who really need urgent care. ”

Choosing the right service to meet your needs this winter:

  • NHS Choices website (nhs.uk) offers up to date expert advice as well details of local services. 
  • NHS 111 is the non-emergency number open 24 hours a day. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and you will be asked you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.
  • Local community pharmacies can help you with lots of everyday ailments.
  • Your own GP practice may offer urgent appointments
  • Walk-in services
  • Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and the 999 ambulance service should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation such as choking, chest pain, blackouts, serious blood loss, suspected stroke or meningitis.

Visit the NHS Choices Stay Well web page for advice about how to stay well this winter.

Pictured: Dr Jimmy Stuart, Divisional Medical Director for Medicine at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust